imageMicrosoft’s Project Hawaii is a series of cloud based services that can be used when making Windows phone apps. They include OCR, speech to text and a series of other services. The SDK and details are here. Based on these services, Microsoft had students submit their apps and the results are pretty impressive. here are the top 8 apps:

  • 8 Tracks Player (Gary Roumanis) – Beautiful app for the 8 Tracks music service. Makes great use of Windows Phone’s panoramas. Most amazing was that Gary, frustrated by the ongoing, months-long wait for an Android version, created this app in two months in his spare time.
  • Breadcrumbs (Shreyas Thiagarajasubramanian) – Helps people discover more about their surroundings by showing tags (images, audio, video, text) for places and locations. Now I can see real-time pictures from the spots I’m thinking of checking out.
  • Hands Free Cook (Roberto Sonnino and Ian Christopher) – Following a recipe on a phone with dirty “kitchen hands” while cooking isn’t something most of us would want to do. This app uses speech recognition to control the app and then reads recipes & instructions out loud so I can keep my phone free of kitchen grease and grit.
  • Headshot (Julia Schwarz) – I’ve tried taking self-portraits with my phone and often have to do a few takes to get it lined up properly. Not anymore. With this app I can get it perfect the first time due to the app’s facial recognition and audio feedback.
  • Music Cloud 7 (Andrei Borodin) – Enables music to play on multiple phones at the same time. Imagine attending a party or event with everyone’s phone playing in sync. Gives a whole new definition to “surround sound.”
  • Optical Search (Marvin Cheng) – Recognizes all the words in a picture and then gives you the ability to pick & choose which words to use in a search. Look up something in a textbook or get help with a crossword puzzle.
  • “Pictionary” (Tara Balakrishnan) – This app uses Hawaii services to enable multiple people from anywhere to connect in real-time for a game of drawing and guessing. Guessers type their answers for the drawer to respond to. To top it off: Tara was the only high-school student in the finals.
  • Ringify (Alex Weingart and Matt Asplund) – Takes advantage of Mango’s new custom ringtone feature and allows you to quickly make ringtones out of your own music. Select the song and the section of the song you want as your ringtone. My phone has been ringing like a G6 recently.

Here’s a 90 second overview of a few of them:

Neat stuff and it gives you a sense of apps to come on the platform thanks to the backbone Microsoft is providing. I like it.

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